The Code Book
Simon Singh
410 pages copyright 1999
Anchor Books
ISBN 0-385-49532-3

review by Ken Dyke

I had seen this book on shelves but had always passed it by as I associated it with such flaky books as secret codes from the Bible and chariots of the gods. I don't know why, I just did. Luckily, David Ford brought along a copy when he did his presentation in January. Sheri expressed high interest in reading it so when I saw it in the bookstore a few days later I bought it. I am glad I did.

It is an easy and enjoyable read about the history and art of cryptography. The book begins with a story about how the breaking of the personal code of Mary Queen of the Scots cost her head, literally.

Through historical anecdotes, lots of background, and non-technical explainations that are highly insightful none the less, the author leads the reader in a behind the scenes tour of the secret art of crypto.

In a book full of highlights the two biggest for me was the real story behind who did the groundbreaking work on cracking the German Enigma and the development of the public key encryption protocol. This book is a fast and fun read.